"Fakhri" Ottoman

The "Bullet" of the last agony

The Prophet’s Medina suffered the same as all Arab countries under the authority of the Ottoman Turkish occupation for almost four centuries, and it was a troubled period in Arab history during which the Turks practiced the most severe types of injustice, abuse and depletion of resources. Moreover, the Turks were not often satisfied with the injustice of the rulers and deliberate negligence, but rather they continued this injustice by committing crimes, massacres and flagrant violation.

They tortured Medina with the appointment of the Turkish “Tiger”.

During the First World War, the Turks transferred power in the Ottoman Empire until they found themselves in the crowd of the warring countries; as one of its weakest parties within the period (1918-1914 AD), and it was like a shroud in which the country was wrapped in with its overflowing history for its final resting place, and its legacy began to turn into new powers and regional divisions. In fact, the Ottomans were not forced into this war except with the aim of receiving the last bullet of mercy, so as not to be a source of inconvenience to the new powers which was established in several parts of the borders of the Ottoman Empire.
Since the beginning of the war, the Ottoman Empire and its ruling party “Committee of Union and Progress” during that period were scrambling to protect their borders from the British and French ambitions and control, as the allies begin to move to its eastern lands. Hence, the Turks wanted to exploit the religious sentiments of the Muslims of the East due to their influence on the Two Holy Mosques in the Arabian Peninsula, whereas it was one of the important and sensitive areas for them, so that it would not lose its control, especially the Hijaz. If it separated, it would lose its alleged religious standing, and its trump card in gaining affection in the Islamic world.
The Turkish concern over the issue of preserving Medina and strengthening its garrison increased, so the Minister of War Anwar Pasha and the Levant Governor Jamal Pasha decided to visit Medina and arrived on 27th Rabi al-Awwal (1334 AH) corresponding to 2nd February (1916 AD), in order to determine the situation and the possibility of its resilience in the face of expected military operations. They thereupon sent a corps led by the deputy governor of Levant, Omar Fakhri Pasha, with the aim of strengthening the Medina’s defenses against any move or revolution, however, it was not officially announced, instead; it came under the pretext of inspecting the military garrison. Fakhri Pasha then arrived in Medina on 31th May (1916 AD) to take command of its Ottoman garrison forces after he was granted wide powers.

An image from the three options with the file Omar Fakhreddin Turkkhan Pasha
1367-1285 AH)
1948-1868 AD )


Feridun Kandemir, Defending Medina (the last of the Turks under the shades of our Prophet ) translated by: Al-Medina Al-Munawwarah Research and Studies Center, (Medina: dn, dt).

He was born in the town of Ruse in the coast of the Danube River in Europe, and his father, Muhammad Nadir bin Omar Agha, a soldier in the Ottoman army, was also director of telegraph and mail. Omar Fakhri Pasha, like other soldiers, graduated from the military school in Istanbul, and was known for his excellence as he was the first in his military class. Moreover, he had military participation in several fields, until he was nominated in (1326 AH / 1908 AD) as a deputy to the Chief of Staff of the Fourth Corps, and at the same time he was appointed head of the Customary Administration Court to investigate rebellions in the army. Next, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the War of the First Regular Division and after the Ottoman Empire joined the First World War, Fakhri was a commander of the Twelfth Corps in Syria, was promoted to the rank of Pasha, and he was then nominated as a deputy of Jamal Pasha to lead the Fourth Army in Syria.


Feridun Kandemir, Defending Medina (the last of the Turks under the shades of our Prophet ) translated by: Al-Medina Al-Munawwarah Research and Studies Center, (Medina: dn, dt).

The First Massacre

“Al Saket” in Al Awali

In the first military confrontation between the commander of the Ottoman garrison, Fakhri Pasha and the Arabs around Al-Medina Al-Munawwarah in some valleys and nearby villages. Fakhri Pasha attacked until he reached Basateen Al-Awali, and the first real confrontation was when his garrison fired its artillery on Al Basateen and many were killed in this confrontation, even those who capitulated to Fakhri’s forces, the artillery fired at them, and he started directing his artillery at the surrounding villages, where some Arabs have taken refuge in. He intentionally terrorized its people even the elderly, women and children, who were killed under Turkish artillery shelling after their homes were burned. The bodies of the dead, who were trying to flee from Fakhri’s artillery barrage, were on fire.
Fakhri committed a human crime against the safe in Al-Awali, considering it as his first crime against the people of Al-Medina Al-Munawwarah, as he did not take into account the Islamic or humanitarian League against the elderly disabled women who could not move, nor the young and their grieving as a result of this terrorism, which was under the allegation of eliminating the Arab revolutionaries.
And this is a crime that history cannot forget, nor forgive, or find justification for it whatsoever. Fakhri Pasha, to confirm his crime, it is narrated by one of the Iraqi participants in this military confrontation with Al-Ashraf, that Fakhri deceived a large group of those who came to him as capitulates from the villagers of Al Awali, and as soon as they returned to their villages, he ordered his forces to storm and kill everybody they encounter, so the death toll reached hundreds, most of them were safe women and children rather than capitulated men who asked him for safety.

He wanted the Arabs to combat among themselves to cover his crimes.

One of the Arab officers involved in the Al-Awali confrontation describes the shock that struck the Arabs who fight the Turks, that it is not among the rules of the Arabs to violate the sanctity of women or kill them, kill children and destroy property.
Al-Awali coincided with another confrontation between Fakhri’s forces and the Arab revolutionaries in the wells of Ali, in which they were repeatedly defeated, where many Arab attackers were killed, and the confrontations multiplied after that, until Fakhri thought of recruiting the youth of Al Medina Al-Munawwarah against their Arab brothers and exploited them for the benefit of his circumstances. Seeking to make the Arabs fight among themselves to cover his crimes in Al-Awali, however, something like this did not happen as he aspired to.
By the continuation of the war situation in the Hijaz, there was a group of inconclusive confrontations, but the most prominent of these confrontations was near Khaybar, in which the Turks were defeated and their leader was captured in January (1917 AD), and this incidence represented a shift in the confrontation between the Ottomans and Al Ashraf. As Fakhri Pasha became facing the Arab armies in every direction; this caused his anxiety and dissipated the first phase of control with a further siege on him in Al Medina Al-Munawwarah.
The circle began to narrow over the Ottoman garrison, and losses began to be incurred to it in several locations, until the garrison found itself surrounded in the borders near Al Medina Al-Munawwarah. This encouraged the Arabs to ask Fakhri Pasha to announce his capitulation, especially after cutting off all his communications with his headquarters in Syria, and his loss of control on the road from Medina to Syria. However, Fakhri did not respond and refused to capitulate despite his full knowledge that he would not succeed in resisting the Arab forces surrounding him from every direction, no matter how he tried to revive his strength and the strength of his garrison. The state of deterioration for him and his forces continued and retreated, until he learned of the Ottoman Empire contracting an armistice (Mudros) in October (1918 AD), according to which the Ottoman Empire pledged to withdraw from the areas agreed upon in the settlements of the war, including the Hijaz, as the Grand Vizier sent a letter to Fakhri Pasha in which he said: “After we made tremendous efforts and great sacrifices for more than four years for the sake of religion and honor, the countries in which we were fighting and on their side were defeated and severely weakened, which forced our Ottoman Empire to contract an armistice with the allied countries. And one of the articles of this armistice is provided that our forces in Hijaz, Asir and Yemen shall capitulate to the closest Allied commander. You are my friends, the soldiers who have fulfilled the duty of honor and dignity years ago, so your acceptance of this painful and cruel ruling will stem from a feeling of patriotism. As that will save the motherland from certain annihilation, and there is no doubt that your work is greatly appreciated.”

Has killed mothers before killing their children.

By this message, the Ottoman government announced its abandonment of Al-Medina Al-Munawwarah and its garrison there, holding a clear and explicit request from the Grand Vizier to Fakhri Pasha to capitulate. As Fakhri has not responded to the orders and insisted on resisting and not to capitulate. Even, he tried to conceal the capitulation order from his garrison, whose officers later knew the order, and Fakhri’s situation became critical in front of the commanders accompanying him.
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He Set Aside Food Stores for His Soldiers

He Fed the Townspeople

“Plain Bread”

After Fakhri Pasha lost contact with his headquarters in the Levant during his stay in Medina, he began his precautionary measures in food insurance for his military garrison and his soldiers excluding the people, and as a result of this policy, with time, an unprecedented famine in Medina occurred when it reached its peak, and the relationship between hunger and high prices tightened.
Fakhri became aware of the occurrence of such a scenario as soon as he took over the city, as one of the men of the Ottoman garrison (Feridun Kandemir) described that he had prepared a camp near the city in which water was available and palm gardens were spread throughout, and he was keen to harvest palm crops from dates and keep them in warehouses prepared for that reason, in order to maintain food security for his military garrison, from the early period of his rule. This procedure was also followed by a set of orders, including that palm crops should not be exported outside Medina or donated but rather remain in their warehouses.
Fakhri Pasha displaced the people of Medina in order to preserve the food security of his garrison. Thus, on December 1917) 30 AD), Fakhri Pasha issued a decision to confiscate foodstuffs and collect them to the castle in Medina in preparation for the siege. Accordingly, buying and selling came to a halt, and people neglected to cultivate the land, while Fakhri’s army was busy collecting and storing supplies in the markets.
Fakhri then faced a food storage crisis as a result of the confiscation of large quantities of food from the markets, which was forcibly taken from the hands of merchants by purchasing it at cheap prices through his soldiers, as the quantities were larger than the stores. Therefore, he resorted to storing the food in military barracks, mosques, and abandoned homes, which became filled with wheat, flour, dates, sugar, and ghee. He was not satisfied with that; rather, he went over to the orchards near the city and tried to gain more from the nearby centers loyal to him.

He provided cats and animal and even human corpses as food for the hungry

He was not satisfied with starving people from the markets only, but he ordered his soldiers to take over the bread ovens in the city and set up a group of bakeries in a number of his military barracks. In addition, he imposed on the army a type of bread called Kunaytah, which is bread that is dried in the oven to resist rot for long periods, and when it is eaten it must be moistened with water in order to be ready for serving.
Fakhri insisted on his headquarters in the Levant to send large quantities of food, especially during the period when trains were arriving in the city, after having gone through the procedures of collecting food from the merchants and confiscating their goods, as well as harvesting crops from orchards. It is natural for this to be followed by a ban on buying and selling, as merchants were prevented from opening their shops, and this was aimed at deliberately starving the people in order to force the remaining residents to leave the city. In spite of that, secret sales were practiced between citizens and merchants. However, it was more likely for people to buy some food from the soldiers of the garrison, who were seeking financial gain and exploiting the needs of the people. Accordingly, prices rocketed up in an unprecedented and illogical manner, all in order to obtain food.
People became caught between the fires of hunger and high prices. Fakhri Pasha anticipated and prepared for a total siege, but he began torturing his people before the siege tormented them. This situation drove people to eat lean livestock, animal skins, cats, and dead birds and other dead animals, and they even ate human corpses after exhuming the graves; fresh burials were taken back out, and legs and hands were amputated, cooked, and sold as beef, while it was in fact human meat. Al-Turki Kashif Kagman mentioned in his book that some people were arrested who had exhumed the grave of a newly buried woman, and her thighs and arms had been cut off and sold in the market after being cooked. The exhumers of the graves were always arrested, and groups of corpses that were exhumed from the graves would be found chopped into pieces. Moreover, it was narrated that one of the city’s residents buried his sister in Al-Baqi’, and when he returned to visit her after a while, he found her grave exhumed and her flesh chopped off. A story also was narrated of someone who hunted a cat, and two of the townspeople bought it and took it to a Turkish butcher, who skinned it for them, and they ate it together with the butcher.

He prohibited merchants from selling and buying, in addition to confiscating food from the market.

The stories of the city famine were not fiction or exaggeration, but rather a reality because of the frequency of their narration by the people of the city and being witnessed by the books of those who participated in the Ottoman garrison from among the Turks themselves. All of this was from the schemes of Fakhri and his arrangement. Indeed, he knew with certainty what the state of people would reach when they were put in tragic circumstances that no human can bear. Narrated from the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him: “O Allah, whoever does wrong to the people of Medina and frightens them, make him frightened, and whoever betrays a Muslim in this respect incurs the curse of Allah, the angels, and all the people, and none of his compulsory or optional good deeds of worship will be accepted.” Fakhri Pasha oppressed the people of Medina, frightened them, and expelled them from their homeland. Fortunately, he left Medina after his defeat with a cold heart and a crime for which history will .never forgive him

Deportations Trips “Seferberlik”

Cries of Torment Have Placed Great Stress

on the Turkish “Serpent” Carriages

When the siege was tightened against Fakhri Pasha in Medina; He applied a very tough internal policy towards the people. As he did not take into account the situations of the people and did not show them mercy; instead, he ruthlessly sought to infuse them with kinds of torment, displacement, and hunger, as what was portrayed by contemporary historical sources that no mind could imagine it to come from a non-Muslim colonizer, rather than from a Muslim.
There are those who underestimate the tragedies and calamities that caused by Fakhri Pasha under the pretext that he was defending the Medina of the Messenger of God (PBUH); however, logic and reason cannot imagine this justification whatever arguments are made to support it. Because there are some people who died and were killed, families that were displaced, children who were orphaned, and sanctity that was violated near the tomb of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). All this was due to the internal policy that pursued by Fakhri and his garrison.

After 13 centuries they applied "Martial" law in the land of prophecy.

Although the displacement was not Fakhri’s first severe policy in Medina, it was the most influential. During the period in which the siege was tightened on Medina, food security became threatened to both the garrison and the people; therefore, this affected the market value of goods, then the price increased, and out of which the diseases were inflicted among people.
The forced displacement process took place in phases and periods; the first one was in December (1916 AD), when he ordered to hang posters in the streets of Medina, declaring that the city became under Martial Administration, and anyone who violates the Ottoman State policy in any way would be punished. Accordingly, he assigned spies who spread denunciation among people, and followed all those who supported the Arab revolution or sympathized with it. People were suspected and cast into doubt, and he imprisoned almost 170 of the scholars and notables of Medina, then he ordered to exile them to the Levant to appear before Jamal Pasha. Of course, Fakhri’s aim was that Jamal to do with them what he did with the Arab revolutionaries that he executed in the Levantine squares. However, the Ottoman government only decided to exile and allocate them in Turkey and eastern Europe, far from the Levant.
The Ottomans did not care about the situations that would take place on the exiled people of Medina, who were like prisoners in countries they neither knew them nor knew their languages. They had no income that was parallel to what they were suffering from, e.g the forced estrangement and distress, where the Ottoman State allocated to the exiled people very low salaries that were not parallel to the situations of displacement in which they were suffering.
Only two months later, on January 1917) ,24 AD), Fakhri began to displace the people of Medina from their homes against their will for securing the soldiers’ food, without caring about the people’s unknown fate that was awaiting them and the calamities that would encounter them due to this arbitrary decision. So, for three days, he sent a caller in Medina to encourage the people to leave because of the upsurge of war, and to warn them of hunger. Most of the Medina’s people were forcibly deported.

Abd al-Haq Naqshbandi:

Abdul Haq bin Abdul Salam Al Naqshbandi was born in Medina in (1322 AH / 1904 AD). He was one of the most important authors in the modern era in Medina. He lived in the period in which Fakhri Pasha was appointed as a governor to Medina. Since he was between 12 and 16 years old, he was aware of the exact details of tragedies and events that had occurred in it.

Abdul-Haq Al-Naqshbandi, Our Recent History, “The Complete Works of the author Abdul-Haq Al-Naqshbandi” (Jeddah: Abdul Maksoud Khoja, 2005).

Abdul Haq al-Naqshbandi described the second displacement as follows: “And when supplies were scarce to Medina, Fakhri Pasha issued an order to evacuate people of Medina to the Levant and its outskirts. So the Medina’s people were ordered to leave in groups and batches by every train departed to the Levant”.
Fakhri wanted by evacuating Medina of its people to remain as a city where only the soldiers of his garrison lived, and to resist the siege with the supplies and food he had. While he did not think of the unknown fate to which he was leading the Medina of the Messenger (PBUH). As he deliberately neglected the fact that the people were Muslims and their lives and social conditions must be taken into account. Also, he disregarded that he was within the borders of Al-Haram Al-Sharif and did not consider the possible damages that might be caused to Medina. Rather, his primary concern was how to fight the Arab revolution and prove his militarism in the first place.
Not all residents of Medina responded to his calls for evacuation, so he ordered his garrison to go into streets, to arbitrarily arrest all of the people they encounter, and to not take into consideration in this regard whether the arrested was a woman, child, disabled person, or the head of a household. The tragedies that were told by the people of Medina about this incidence were numerous, several and that history cannot forgive what Fakhri who was full of his hatred to Arabs, did to the people of Medina. As we have saw, he only described them as traitors. He did not even have regard for Arab officers who were among the members of his garrison.
As a result of the arbitrariness practiced against the people of Medina, many of them carried tragic memories. No one of those who were arrested in the streets was given time to arrange their situations or inform their families; even a man who went out to get food for his wife to breastfeed her infant. Once he came out, he was arrested and sent by train and when his wife went out on his trail to seek food for her son, she was also arrested. As soon as she reached Levant, she died. Days later, her infant was found dead at their home from hunger and crying along with his young siblings. The people of Medina were displaced, their memories and emotions were spared. Those who witnessed this human catastrophe talked about their situations on trains, their relocation, their cries and their pleas. Where many died, more were lost, families were displaced and dispersed.

They displaced the "People of Medina" from Bosra to Bulgaria.

Turkish Gandemir described the situation in the railway station in which the people were preparing to leave on March 1917) ,14 AD); that it was exuding of pain. Where soldiers were cramming people into the train cars and beating the horses with whips. While the scene of mass crying was present among men, women and children; and expressions of farewell. Although he was one of the garrison, he was unable to bear the situation, and portray it as a heart-wrenching.

Most of the people of Medina became refugees in the Levant, Turkey, Eastern Europe, and other Hijaz cities and Medina was void from its origin people except for a few. Fakhri did not only evacuate people, but his soldiers also had looted and robbed the homes of people of Medina who were forced to leave and were unable to arrange their situations and possessions. In that case, Medina became permissible in every sense of the word, and the sanctities of the people were not observed by the army of Fakhri.